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Local

Kane County Health Dept. gives out free Tick Kits

County residents advised to take anti-tick precautions

GENEVA – Free Tick Kits provided by the Kane County Health Department are available for county residents while supplies last Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Kane County Clerk’s Office, 719 S. Batavia Ave., Building B, Geneva, according to a news release.

The kits are also available at the same times and days at the Kane County Health Department offices, 1240 N. Highland Ave., Aurora, until supplies are gone.

Kane County residents should bring proof of their address to obtain the free kit, the release stated.

Tickborne illnesses Illinois residents have been diagnosed with include Heartland virus, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis and tularemia.

“The Kane County Health Department wants our residents to take precautions against tick bites,” Barbara Jeffers, health department executive director, stated in the release. “By providing these kits to our residents, we’re helping to educate and protect people from health problems and health hazards.”

The kits, packaged in a handy pocket-sized carrying case, contain a Tick ID Card, a First Aid Quick Facts Guide, antibacterial hand wipes, first aid and burn cream, a wipe to treat skin after the insect bite and a pair of plastic tweezers for removing the tick.

The Illinois Public Health Department issued a warning last month that ticks carrying the Heartland virus had been reported in Kankakee County.

Heartland virus was first identified in 2009 when two Missouri farmers who had been bitten by ticks were admitted to a hospital.

Heartland virus can be spread to people through the bite of an infected Lone Star tick, the release stated.

Reported cases of Heartland virus disease are relatively rare, however almost all individuals with Heartland virus have been hospitalized.

Although most people infected have fully recovered, a few died, the release stated.

There are no vaccines to prevent Heartland virus infections.

Signs and symptoms of infection are similar to those of other tickborne diseases and can include fever, headaches, fatigue, muscle aches and diarrhea.

Most people have reported becoming sick about two weeks after being bit by a tick.

And while there is no treatment, doctors can treat some of the symptoms.

If you have been bitten by a tick and think you may have Heartland virus or another tickborne illness, visit a health care provider.

Health care providers should consider Heartland virus in patients who have compatible symptoms and are not responding to other treatments.

Ticks are commonly found on the tips of grasses and shrubs. Lone Star ticks are found throughout Illinois. Ticks crawl―they cannot fly or jump.

The tick will wait on the grass or shrub for a person or animal to walk by and then quickly climb aboard.

Some ticks will attach quickly and others will wander, looking for places like the ear, or other areas where the skin is thinner.

Simple tips to avoid tick bites include:

• Wear light-colored, protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts, pants, boots or sturdy shoes and a head covering. Treat clothing with products containing 0.5 percent permethrin.

•  Use Environmental Protection Agency-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus. Walk in the center of trails so grass, shrubs, and weeds do not brush against you.

• Check yourself, children, other family members and pets for ticks every two to three hours.

•  Remove any tick promptly by grasping it with tweezers, as close to the skin as possible and gently, but firmly, pulling it straight out.

Wash your hands and the site of the tick bite with soap and water.

For more information on how to protect yourself from ticks, visit the Kane County Health Department website at kanehealth.com.

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